A thank you note to my bed

When I was fifteen I chose a silky tiger-print duvet set for my bed. It was completely ridiculous but I loved it more than anything. The material was always cool and slippery, falling into a puddle on the floor every morning. When I had a friend over to see it, she joked about it making my room look like a bachelor pad. But still, I didn’t care because to me it made my bed feel like an exotic island, floating in the middle of my small, slopey-roofed bedroom.

At 16, my best friend would always stay over. We’d watch horror movies in bed, eat snacks (spilling crisp crumbs everywhere) and gossip endlessly about school. I ranted about the girl I knew who had blanked me for going to a concert without her; laughed about the teacher who always wore pens as a necklace pendant, and prophesised about where we’d both live when we were older. Every conversation would ripple over the creases in the covers, contained within the bed frame and vanishing at sunrise.

At 17, I could never sleep. The future suddenly felt very real, with exams looming and relationships becoming more complicated. The hours when everyone else slept were the only times I felt like I could concentrate, with the moon watching over me and songs from the Garden State soundtrack playing. I’d try to write essays that I should have finished hours earlier and end up trailing off into badly written poetry about my angsty teenage emotions and jumbled head. Bed was the space I could let it all spill out.

At 18, I thought I was in love. I would spend all day at school so excited to get home, climbing into bed and reading through old messages I’d sent to the boy I was dating. From bed my life could be a movie or a novel, with events outside of it seemingly far away and re-writable, life just one long daydream that could be played over and over again from beneath the cloudy cover of a duvet.

At 19, I moved five hours away for college. I had a single bed and embarrassing love heart sheets from when I was 10 (the only ones I could find). I was so homesick I spent most of my time here, hiding from everything and everyone, trying to understand myself better as I rested my feet on the radiator against the wall.

At 20, I fell in love for real. Bed had always been a safe retreat, a place to escape and be alone. Suddenly it became about not being alone, but being with someone and getting to know them; about staying up until it got light outside, stringing our lives together in sentences and savouring each detail as though it were a puzzle piece you’d been looking for.

At 21, I was tired and sad all the time. I stayed in bed until 3 pm most days because my lectures had finished and so days lost all recognition, while time became bendy and blurred. I had to move back home and find a job and actually face growing up soon. Bed was the hiding place, but also the place for tears and difficult conversations about the future, surrounded by messy pillows and crumpled, tea-stained sheets.

Now, at 25, bed is still my favourite place to be. It’s where I can rest and relax after a stressful day at work, or just spend hours watching Netflix while it rains outside. You might be thinking, who in their right mind wouldn’t love bed? And you’d probably be right. But to me it’s not only a place where you can rest your head at night and dream, but it’s also where I’ve had some of my most treasured awake moments; telling secrets to friends, making out with boys or writing something I feel really proud of.

My bed has always been so much more than just a place to sleep for me, it’s been an actual place where I can pause the chaos of life, for just a little while.

[image via Searchlight Pictures]

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